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Avila off to slow start in rehab assignment

DETROIT -- Although Tigers catcher Alex Avila said he felt as good as new before he started his rehab assignment at Triple-A Toledo, he has struggled at the plate in his first few games back.

In two games as a designated hitter, Avila is 0-for-8 with a walk and two strikeouts.

Avila was placed on the 15-day disabled list after being hit by a pitch on his left forearm against the Twins on June 17. The earliest he can return is July 2, and he expects to return on that date.

However, manager Jim Leyland says Avila needs to get his swing going during his assignment. Avila has been stuck in a season-long slump at the plate, batting .172 with five home runs and 13 RBIs in 48 games.

Catcher Bryan Holaday was 2-for-7 in his absence with two runs scored entering play Tuesday. He started Tuesday against the Angels, batting ninth.

Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for
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